Seal of Dane County County of Dane
County Executive's Office

Falk Announces 2009 Budget Initiatives for County 911 Center

August 20, 2008
Joshua Wescott, Office of the County Executive (608) 267-8823 or cell (608) 669-5606
County Executive

Dane County Will Become First in State to Do Fire, Medical, Police Dispatch Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk announced today her 2009 county budget proposal will include significant upgrades for the county’s Public Safety Communications Center. Falk said the cornerstone of her 2009 budget request for the 911 Center will be funding to purchase what’s known as “Priority Police Dispatch,” a recently developed, state of the art dispatching program that’s based on national law enforcement best practices and standards. Those protocols allow dispatchers to prioritize information from 911 callers to ensure the right amount of police resources are dispatched to incidents. Through a series of questions, the program helps dispatchers get more information from callers, which helps better prepare responding officers while they’re on the way to emergencies. “Priority Police Dispatch is a significant improvement for both the safety of our citizens and our police officers,” Falk said. “These reliable consistent protocols ensure the right law enforcement resources get to the right places in the right amount of time: better service for the public, better quality assurance for the system, and better for law enforcement.” If adopted, Dane County would be the first in the state to implement priority dispatch for all three public safety disciplines; police, fire and emergency medical services. In 2007, Dane County became the first county in the state to implement Priority Fire Dispatch. Dane County was one of the first counties to use Priority Medical Dispatch. It was implemented in 2004. “As we’ve seen with Priority Fire and Medical Dispatch, these cutting edge dispatching tools help dispatchers get the information they need to know in the order they need to know it to. This helps ensure a uniform, timely response from our public safety agencies.” Similar to Priority Fire and Medical, Priority Police Dispatch includes thorough quality assurance reviews in which dispatchers are scored on their handling of calls. Hundreds of these reviews will be performed monthly. Falk will include $218,000 in the budget to purchase the software for the Priority Police Dispatch program and to cover maintenance and training costs associated with implementing it in Dane County. Her budget will also include the addition of seven new positions in the 911 Center to help implement this important addition. Included in the new positions is an operations manager to help oversee day-to-day operations and work as a liaison between the center and the 85 public safety agencies it dispatches for. Also included are four-full time new communicators, and two new half-time communicator positions that will work floating schedules to help cover shifts for dispatchers who may be out sick or on vacation. More than $360,000 will be in Falk’s budget for the new positions. If adopted, the proposals would represent a more than 10% increase in the 911 Center’s budget. # # #